The Cathedral of Palermo is dedicated to the Santa Maria Vergine Assunta and was built towards the end of the 12th century. The architectural style is Gothic, but with very much Catalan influences. Highlights are the façade, the roof and the treasury.
Address: Corso Vittorio Emanuele – 90134 Palermo. Tel: 091334373. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 08:15 to 17:40; Sundays and public holidays from 08:15 to 12:15. The ticket office closes 45 minutes before closing time. Closed: January 1 and December 25. Early closing times: July 15 and September 4 (1 p.m.) and December 24 3n 31 (3 p.m.). Entrance fee: Area Monumental (treasury + crypt + royal tombs): 3 Euro; Area Monumental+ rooftops: 7 Euro; only crypt + treasury: 2 Euro; tomb: 1.50 Euro; rooftops: 5 Euro. There are discounts for young people and those over 65. The ticket for the Area Monumental entitles you to a discount at the Museo Diocesano.
History and Description
Although the Cathedral was built as early as 1184, the various factions that have exercised power in Palermo in subsequent centuries have all left their mark on the structure.
The façade on the south side (Via Vittorio Emanuele) is characterized by a beautiful Gothic portico with Catalan influences from 1453.
Around the cathedral runs a marble balustrade. This was added by Vincenzo Gagini in 1574. The statues, depicting Sicilian saints, were placed there even later.
Between 1781 and 1801, the originally baroque interior received a neo-classicist facelift. The dome was used as a starting point to obtain the correct proportions.
Inside the church are several royal tombs made of a red stone called porfido. The most notable of these is the tomb of Federico II.
The silver urn of the city’s patron saint, Santa Rosalia, is also in a chapel in the cathedral. Every year on July 15, this urn is carried in a procession through the city.
The shell-shaped holy water vessel was made by Domenico Gagini in the 16th century. The reliefs depict the “Baptism of Jesus” and the “Annunciation of Mary.”
The main altar was made in 1794.
In the treasury (tesoro) one can admire sacred writings, chalices, books of hours and other religious objects. Most of the items date from the 14th to the 16th centuries. The highlight is the tiara of Costanza d’Aragona.